Showing posts from 2009

Blacks with College Degrees face hardships

In an article published in the New York Times published 12/1/09, entitled "In Job Hunt, College Degree Can't Close Racial Gap" there has been new evidence that suggests that Blacks with college degrees have suffered more than Blacks without college degrees. The article cites the statistic that the jobless rate for black male graduates 25 and over is 8.4% compared with 4.4% for white males. The article also cites a study says White, Asian and Hispanic managers tended to hire more Whites and fewer Blacks than black managers.

The impact of this is hardly lost on me. Personally I have been on a rather arduous job search for over a year. I have often wondered whether my race plays a role in me getting hired or even called back for interviews. Many who know me would consider me unashamedly black and clearly opinionated at that. I have walked into interviews after having great phone conversations, felt that things went well to find out that I did not get the job. By no means do…

Jimmy Carter's Comments? True or not?

Now I have been very hesitant to delve into the comments that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter made recently. If you all haven't heard, President Carter made this statement in an interview with NBC's Brian Williams:"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American," Carter said. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shared the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans...And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply."The reaso…

Bill O'Reilly's Ode to Barack Obama and What It Could Mean for Politics

Yes you read the headline right. Bill O'Reilly, one of America's most popular conservative journalists recently wrote in an article in Parade Magazine entitled "What President Obama Can Teach America's Kids". In what I can only describe as a tribute to Barack Obama, O'Reilly wrote about four areas that Obama's life story can help impact children. Those areas were: Forgiveness, Respect, Persistence, Hard Work, and Anything is Possible. These are all key traits that can be a source of inspiration to children around the world.

While I could easily detail the article, I believe that there is a larger context to look at. The potential political ramifications for what O'Reilly has done can be far-reaching. But the only way this can happen is IF we allow the current political discussion to open up more. Bill O'Reilly has never been one of my favorite journalists (the impact he had on Ludacris years ago that ultimately cost Ludacris the Pepsi endorsement …

My Take on The Henry Louis Gates situation

Now I am sure many people have been wondering when I was going to dive into the debate that is brewing around this country. Truthfully I wanted to leave my opinion out of it. But after seeing some of the recent developments, I believe I may have some valuable insight into the matter.

I attended Boston College and have spent many evenings over in Cambridge visiting friends at Harvard, MIT or in the neighborhood. It is simply one of my favorite towns. The diversity, culture and overall vibe is amazing. It has a Greenwich Village feels that is quite enjoyable. But that doesn't mean that everything is smooth under the sun. I admit that I have heard from many of my Harvard friends of color that they don't feel comfortable with the police departments of either Cambridge or Harvard University. I must believe that they have valid reasons that many people of color around this country have about other police agencies. There is a sense by many that even in one of the bastions of American …

President Obama's NAACP Speech and What It Says for The Larger Goal of Equality

In what I can only describe as an historic speech f0r not only African-Americans, but America as a whole, President Obama delivered the keynote speech at the 100th NAACP Convention this past Thursday in New York City. While his speech was ubiquitously black in its message and approach, there was major universality in his message.

In much of his speech President Obama described the ills of racism and segregation that have plagued the African-American community for generations. But in a shift that no U.S. President before him has done, he described the "structural inequalities" that affect so many.
"make no mistake: the pain of discrimination is still felt in America. By African-American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and gender. By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country. By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion for simply kneeling down to pray. By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still de…

Attacking Malia Obama?: What has the world come to!

I guess racism isn't dead after all. The ubiquitous "Kumbaya" moment that many of us felt after the election of Barack Obama has clearly worn off. And now people feel that it is perfectly fair to attack his children.

Malia Obama, who just turned eleven, was in Italy last week. She wore a tee-shirt that had a peace-sign on it. This picture was posted in many different publications and on many different blogs (mine included). What occurred on one blog (Free Republic) was simply some of the most blatant, in your face, racist vile I have seen since Obama got elected. I won't reprint many of them here, out of respect for the First Family, but the posters used every negative stereotype one could use to describe black women and black families. What was really shocking about these posts is that apparently the website and its posts were supposed to be moderated. This means that someone allowed the posts to go on and did not do anything about it until someone started to complai…

Obama's pick for Surgeon General: Dr. Regina Benjamin

As I was sitting home watching the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, I saw that President Obama chose a person to be the new Surgeon General. I was very impressed with Dr. Regina Benjamin's story. What really impressed me with her story was how connected she was both professionally and personally to the medical field in which she works.

During her speech Dr. Benjamin mentioned that she lost her mother to lung cancer, her father to diabetes, her brother to complications from HIV and currently had an uncle who was suffering from emphysema due to his years of smoking. I believe that having been impacted personally by all of the major diseases that affect Americans, she brings to the table a level of empathy and real-life understanding that should drive her to do well.

I also was impressed with her level of perseverance. She started her own clinic in a very poor town in Alabama. Hurricane Georges in 1999 destroyed it. Dr. Benjamin rebuilt it. When Hurricane Katrina destro…

What Michael Jackson meant to diversity

Having had the chance to sit down and process the life and tribulations of Michael Jackson, I believe that there is one thing that the media has not truly addressed. One of the only people who addressed it correctly was Al Sharpton. I fully admit that I am not the biggest fan of Sharpton, but he was dead-on with his assessment of Michael Jackson. "Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of color way before Tiger Woods, way before Oprah Winfrey, way before Barack Obama." I will detail my feelings about this in the following.

When Michael Jackson came out with the Jackson Five long ago the prevailing thought was that the young men were awesome. They were performing music that was classified by the "Motown Sound" which defined their sound as black music. Even at this time the Jackson Five clearly had the crossover appeal. And the one that made that appeal greater was Michael himself. The Jackson Five stands as one the most important musical groups that set standar…

The value of alums of color giving back

I spent some time this weekend at my alma mater Boston College. The purpose of my visit was to serve as an AHANA (African, Hispanic, Asian, Native American) Alumni representative for AHANA prospective weekend. I had some time to think about the value of alums of color giving back to their community and I have come to a few conclusions.

I met with some prospective students this weekend. Seeing them internalize what college, particularly Boston College had to offer brought me back to my college selection journey. What I tried to impart on them, and really what I try to impart on people in general is that it is vital to give back in any way you can to places and people who will value it. One of the reasons that I decided to attend Boston College was because it was clear that alumni of color really cared about reaching out to current and prospective students. There were many reasons why they did this. Some did it because they genuinely enjoyed their time at BC and wanted to see others atte…

Michael Steele: Get a backbone!

I sat down on Saturday and watched Michael Steele on DLHughley Breaks the News (that show is great. Consider it fully recommended by yours truly). I had to admit that I really started to like Steele. His description of the Republican Party that he learned to love growing up really sounded like the party that I could support or at the very least understand. I was even more impressed with how he was willing to stand up to Rush Limbaugh and admit that some of his stuff is "ugly" "divisive" and "entertainment". It was a profound comment coming from as he put it "the de facto leader of the Republican party."

But alas the love affair with Steele was short lived yet again. On Monday morning Mr. Limbaugh decided that he wanted to attack Steele on his radio show. Limbaugh essentially gave Steele orders as to what he needs to do to bring back the GOP. And what did Steele do later that day. He apologized to Rush and in the same token offended many people wh…

Eric Holder and "A Nation of Cowards"

So as race has become front and center during the past week, Attorney General Eric Holder has entered the fray. In a speech given to commemorate Black History Month last week Attorney General Holder made some very interesting commentary regarding race matters in the United States. "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards...On Saturdays and Sundays, America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 years ago. This is truly sad."Eric Holder showed a huge level of courage to make this comment. Now many people may take exception to the use of the word "coward." I can understand most people's apprehension to the word. Having looked at the comment in its entirety, it can not be denied that there is some merit to the term.

During the course of this country's history t…

My Apology vs. The New York Post Apology

To my readers,
In my last post I made a careless mistake. It was brought to my attention that I used a term that has been historically viewed as racist. At the time I was writing I was not aware that the term (call a spade a spade) had racial connotations. After researching the term and its meaning, I sincerely offer my apology. My intentions were merely to use a colloquial statement to illustrate a point. If my use of the phrase was viewed by anyone as the wrong use of words at best, or racially intolerant and/or insensitive at worst, then I apologize. While I don't believe in censorship, in the future I will use better judgment when using words or phrases. Especially when those words or phrases can be used to offend the people that I aim to advocate for.
Thanks for understanding

Now see New York Post, this is a proper apology. What you all put out last night stands as one of the most disrespectful meaculpas that I ever have seen. I would have accepted the ubiquitous "we apolog…

What was the New York Post thinking?

In today's edition of the New York Post, there was a cartoon in the editorial section that can only be described as racist. I am warning those who feel that this is not that I am about to go in hard on this article. I expect people to be offended, just as I was offended when I awoke to this disgusting cartoon in the newspaper this morning.

Admittedly the cartoon on its face does not appear racist. Had the image of the cops shooting the chimp been left alone, it would have been viewed by many animal lovers as insensitive, but that would have been the end of the furor. Its the accompanying text combined with the imagery that is causing the uproar around the country.

Now I must be a downright fool to believe what Col Allan, editor in chief of the New York Post said in his comments today. "The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy." I urge ev…

Michael Steele: Diversity in the RNC

Let me be one to applaud the RNC on their selection of Michael Steele as RNC Chairman. While there may be countless liberal naysayers who will say that Steele's selection is a way to appease the populace. I for one tend to think otherwise for a multitude of reasons.

I believe that if the RNC wanted to continue down the path that they have been going, they easily could have. There was no compelling reason that the voting members had to select a black chairman. While keeping a white man would have been viewed by many as keeping the party status quo, I do not believe that there would have been as much of an outcry against it. In fact I believe that by selecting a black chairman, the RNC has stepped out in a huge way, making it known to conservative people of color that the time to hear their voices is now.

Picking a moderate conservative is also a huge move for the RNC. Many had debated since the election about the path that the Republican Party should choose to go. Some people wanted …

Rush Limbaugh: Is he serious right now?

The mighty Rush Limbaugh strikes again! One day after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Mr. Limbaugh was already up to his old tricks. The story goes that a few days before the end of Bush's term, a newspaper publication asked Bush to mark the end of his term with 400 words on his hope for the Obama administration. Mr. Limbaugh took this moment to define his own hope, or lack thereof for President Obama. The following is what he said.

"My hope, and please understand me when I say this. I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, 'Well, I hope he succeeds. We've got to give him a chance.' Why? They didn't give Bush a chance in 2000. Before he was inaugurated, the search-and-destroy mission had begun. I'm not talking about search-and-destroy, but I've been listening to Barack Obama for a year-and-a-half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don't want …

My experience on Inauguration Tuesday

So I have been delaying this post for some time. For the first time in my life I feel that my words are inadequate to describe an experience. For those that know me well, that is a rarity. But after many requests, here goes my experience on Inauguration Day.

My true inauguration experience began Monday night. My friends and I decided that we wanted to head downtown and see some of the monuments and the sights of the city. As we got off at the Smithsonian stop, the amount of people mulling around was amazing. It was well after sunset and thousands of people were milling around the Mall, taking in the moment that was a few hours away. We walked around, took pictures, saw the Capital and the Washington Monument and just breathed in the air and energy that was around us. After dinner we headed back to the station to head back and prepare for the day. While in the station we saw many people with blankets, pillows and sleeping bags heading in the direction that we were coming from. They all …

My journey to Washington DC for inauguration weekend

It appeared that it was highly unlikely that I was going to make it down to DC this weekend for inauguration festivities. Financially things were tight and I did not see a clear way of me making this happen. My mom asked me Thursday if I thought I was going down. Clearly things did not look promising...

But a divine intervention would have it, I awoke Friday to a check in the mail from my grandfather. It was the Christmas money that he had promised. The way I saw it, it was destined for me to make it to DC. I scrounged together some more last minute cash and booked my ticket. Nothing was going to stop me now.

As I awoke Saturday morning and began the trip to the bus station, there was an interesting feel in the air. I had made a few trips to DC for a few big events, the most recent being the Million More March and the Affirmative Action March. But there was a decidedly different feel this time. With those times there was a sense of anger and frustration in the journey. Anger and frustra…

Police Murder in Oakland...This one TRULY is inexcusable!

The murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland this past New Year's Day has struck a cord unlike any case of police misconduct that I have seen in quite some time. Essentially Mr. Grant and a group of people were stopped and removed from a train based on the belief that they were involved in a fight. This on the surface seems fine and in compliance with departmental guidelines. What occurred next is the inexcusable part. Mr. Grant sat along a wall and as the police attempted to handcuff the young man, he appears to put up somewhat of a struggle. As one cop is trying to hold him down, the other cop tried to handcuff him. What shocked me next was what that officer did. As he is trying to subdue Mr. Grant, he reaches into his right side and pulls out his service revolver and fires his gun into the back of Mr. Grant. Ultimately that was the shot that killed him. What separated this case from many recent police misconduct cases was the fact that everything was caught on tape.

The aftermath of the…

Barack The Magic Negro: Simple joke or offensive?

Last week a member of the Republican National Committee member Chip Saltzman sent out a CD to all the members of the RNC as a Christmas gift. The CD, according to Saltzman was supposed to be a parody of sorts, aiming to poke fun at some of the members of the Democratic Party, as well as issues pertaining to democratic politics. Among the names of some of the songs were "Love Client #9" as well as "Down on the Farm with Al Gore." The song that drew the most reaction was entitled "Barack the Magic Negro."

The song, which was set to the beat of Peter, Paul and Mary's famous "Puff the Magic Dragon" created a stir not only for its message, but for the voice on the CD. The singer of the song clearly sounds like a white man trying to imitate a black voice. Now this song is by no means new. It appeared on the Rush Limbaugh show during the campaign and was roundly criticized for its insensitive nature. Clearly Saltzman forgot about this. Saltzman has …